Posted on 1 April 2014
Due to be published by the University of Wales Press in April, From the Cradle to the Coalmine: The Story of Children in Welsh Mines by Ceri Thompson addresses the enduring popular interest in children working in coal mines.
It is widely believed that the employment of children underground in coal mines ended in 1842. This book, in contrast, shows that young people remained an important part of the workforce up until the virtual demise of the industry in the late twentieth century.
The Children’s Employment Commission was established in 1840 to expose the conditions under which children had to work underground; as we might expect, public opinion was outraged by what came to light, and a law was passed to prevent all females and boys under the age of ten from working underground. However, the lack of inspectors made the law difficult to enforce, and many females and boys under ten continued to work illegally until Parliament made school attendance compulsory in the 1860s.
Using the real voices of children and young people, and richly illustrated to include extensive work from Museums Wales photographic archives, this popular and accessible book challenges some popular misconceptions and is a rich source of information about the working lives of children and young people from the Welsh coalfields.
The author, Ceri Thompson, is Curator of the Coal mining collections, Museums Wales.
From the Cradle to the Coalmine: The Story of Children in Welsh Mines
by Ceri Thompson (University of Wales Press, April 2014)
£11.99 • PB • 9781783160549 • 216x138 mm • 112pp
46 black and white images